There's a first time for everything and for us that means we finally remembered to have "the good camera" at the ready to document the step-by-step process of creating our latest run of made-in-USA jeans. Enjoy.
While the fits and features of our jeans are very dialed in at this point, Roxy continually compiles customer feedback which Matt will distill and tweak designs if necessary. For each new run of jeans we select possible fabrics, taking special note of the materials, weight, weave quality, look and feel, and then we run quality control tests to narrow our options and ultimately pick the best possible one.
Once the fabric is locked in, we make a cut list. This is an inexact science but a crucial step. We analyze our previous sales and use our gut feeling to determine the size breakdown of each run. If we’ve run out of your size before, we missed some clues here, though often things will happen during the cut and sew process that can throw the final numbers off. Along with the cut list, we compile all trims such as zippers, buttons, threads, labels, hang tags etc. On smaller runs we’ll sometimes have some fun and hand stamp labels or hang tags.
Our pattern maker makes a sample size paper pattern that we typically cut and sew in house. Sometimes a contract sewer will be used if they’re going to do the final production. Non-US made product samples will be sewn by the factory for measuring and testing. We check the fit, measure it to ensure it matches spec, and will wear it around for a while and see how things perform in the real world. If all is good, we move onto the next step. If not, we repeat until we get it right.
Next we have our pattern maker make and print a marker. Then it, all fabrics, and the cut list get sent to the cutter.The cutter will lay out the fabric on long, long tables (we’re talking 40 feet plus) and let it rest overnight to settle properly. We know how much fabric we’ve purchased but this is where we find out how much fabric we actually have to work with. An order of fabric will come in multiple rolls that are never an exact usable length as there can often be issues like a cut or a knot, or inconsistencies in the dye or weaving that need to be cut out which leaves us with less usable material than expected, and can lead to shortages in our expected size runs.
Once the fabric has fully settled, it is then expertly cut. The stakes are high and there is no room for error here. If the cutter does not follow the lines exactly, the finished garments will not fit right. And if they make a mistake on any part, the entire size run for that cut they messed up is ruined.
Once the fabric is cut, it’s ready to be sewn. First it’s bundled with each piece labeled with the size, and then sewn together. Professional sewing machines can only do one type of stitch, and each garment typically takes at least 4 or more types of stitches. For jeans, we need 6 machines, including a special 3-needle chain stitch machine made specifically for heavier materials such as denim. These machines (and capable operators) are highly coveted in the apparel world.
Once the garments are sewn, they are trimmed of any loose threads and inspected closely for any mistakes. Then final labels are attached, the garments are folded, and packaged for delivery. When garments are inspected, sometimes small issues are found like a detail with the fabric that the cutter missed or a small nick or sewing error. If these pieces are still usable and otherwise up to our standards, we’ll put them aside and offer them at a discount on our sale rack. (Be sure to check it out the next time you visit Velo Love.)
While all the production is underway, our crack team (aka us) is planning how and when to roll out the launch. We write descriptions of the garment, organize a shoot and take photos, and edit words and images until everything shines. Everything from this step is compiled into our beautiful product pages, emails, and social media posts, and sent off into the world.
Within seconds of being set live on our website, orders start flooding in like water escaping from a dam (we can dream, right?). Once an order is received, Melvin pulls your selections, double-checks to ensure accuracy, and packs up your goodies and sends your order on the way.
If you ever have any questions, Roxy (and her vast wealth of knowledge) is standing by to help you select the best garment for your needs. She's there to answer any questions or concerns whenever the need arises to reach out. She also processes all returns and exchanges, and compiles any customer feedback about each garment that we may incorporate into our next production run.
And this brings us back to step one where we start the whole process over again.